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Butrans patch & side effects

Been on Butrans patch ~3 mos. (20mcg), and am beginning to wonder about side effects. (Other current medicines = Lortab & Soma)

Now, I have taken several combinations of pain medicines and muscle relaxers in the past, including many instances of Lortab & Soma (for muscle injuries), but this is the first time with Butrans. The new side effects that concern me are:

- Right hip joint feels 'loose', especially after extended periods of sitting, lying down, or sleeping.
- Blood pressure & heart rate have been steadily climbing for months (not just from pain, but also stress, and a lack of exercise for many months)
- Somnolence that was never there before (even with higher narcotic doses). typically occurs after sitting still more than 30 minutes, such as driving.

Since I have taken larger doses of the other medicines before, I'm getting very worried about these coming from the Butrans patch. Oh, and I'm talking about a BP of 160 / 110 & HR of 120bpm. This is just after a short walk at work...

Anyone else with similar issues or knowledge about this?


NGBB (NiceGuyBadBack)


  • Sorry to hear about the issues....

    I would think that the extreme drowsiness could mean that you are overmedicated....This is quite a concern, especially as you say it happens when driving! I would speak to your Dr. asap...Many Drs. are moving away from Soma because of it's strong nature that only doubles your drowsiness along with the opiate. There are other muscle relaxers that are less sedating...Robaxin, Skelaxin, and a new long actng version Amrix...it's the same ingredient as Flexeril but less drowsy.

    And if you haven't been exercising at all....if you are gaining weight (eating unhealthy) along with this....then BP can start to rise quickly....Even if you are eating well.....lack of exercise can certainly cause a high bp.

    You really need to find ways to get 30-45 minutes of exercise each day whether it is walking , swimming, light weights, etc. I would work with your Dr. on finding the best ways to do this...

    That will also help with stress levels...as well as a natural release of endorphins as we really need this, especially on pain medications/opiates.

    Finding ways to lower stress is imperative...Counseling is one way...Taking time out for yourself each day...even 10 minutes a few times a day to concentrate on breathing...get up and stretch....go out in the sun for a bit.

    Make sure that you have had bloodwork recently to check for low T levels as well as vitamin B and D levels..There are easy ways to help these levels if low..

    I would ask your Dr. about doing some PT for the hip joint. Many times when people are out of shape...their muscles have atrophied which causes the hips and/or knees to become "loose"...So working on getting the muscles back in shape...both your back, core, and leg muscles all help support the hips and vice-versa.

    There are ways to do all of this even after spine surgeries or spine/disc issues. I have had 3 fusions myself...and have active, severe herniations as well as need more knee surgery. I have hip pain occasionally from when they took out bone for my first fusion. As well as another Morton's neuroma which I had surgery to remove one years ago...

    Even with all of this I walk 1.2 miles each day. Do yoga/stretching....and have moved to eating all organic 2 years ago. This helped tremendously with my fatigue levels.

    I drink 12-14 cups of water a day...two small cups of coffee in the early am (5-6am) and no sodas....

    After you try working with your Dr. on all the natural ways to help lower your BP and such...you can have them do other bloodwork for cortisol levels. Sometimes after being treated with corticosteroids for awhile....people can have adrenal gland issues. This can cause a rise in BP and pulse.

    Good luck...
  • DarlaDDarla Posts: 13
    edited 11/02/2013 - 11:40 AM
    Sometimes when people post on here they don't want to read ur book of do's and dont's!Sorry but thats what I take away from it!

    Post edited by Sandi- Spine Health Moderator
    Personal comments are not tolerated on Spine Health.
  • LovetrotravelLLovetrotravel Posts: 296
    edited 11/02/2013 - 11:42 AM
    [quote=Darla Sometimes when people post on here they don't want to read ur book of do's and dont's!

    **Edited by Sandi to remove personal comments deleted in prior post**Sorry but thats what I take away from it!

    Feel free to skip over my posts then:)

    We all offer help in our own way. I take time and effort to read posts, as many do here...and offer thoughts and suggestions based on my own personal knowledge of being in PM for 11 years. I am also great friends with my PM Dr. outside of our appts. I spend time with him and his family. So I have learned a lot about pain management.

    But as I stress all the time..I am not a Dr. or any type of medical professional. No one here is. And my help is no less important or more important than anyone elses. Everyone on here has a story and journey of their chronic pain....It's just my way of helping. Please feel free to help people your way.

    The OP of any thread can choose to ignore anything I say as well...it's no biggie. It's about collectively sharing and empathizing with others..
  • DarlaDDarla Posts: 13
    edited 08/31/2012 - 2:36 PM
    Well that explains it!!! :)
  • The comments are very useful and, even though I was aware of many points made, hearing them collectively will help keep me focused. Specifically about hip joints becoming loose, as that has caused quite some worry recently. (T-levels were already low - I live with my wife & 3 daughters!) ;)

    Some days, it can be a little easy to just 'take it easy', instead of remembering to keep working toward goals of a healthier life.
    I do appreciate the information...and I love to travel as well.
  • LovetrotravelLLovetrotravel Posts: 296
    edited 09/02/2012 - 7:23 AM
    Thanks NGBB for understanding I was just trying to help...Yes...I can get "wordy" at times..LOL...but it's just because I like to provide information that someone may or may not know already or have tried since I've been in PM for so long.

    As mentioned...we all have our own pain journies and can all support and encourage each other through our difficult times. And everyone has something to offer to help others.

    That's a good joke about living with all girls!! :) One of my best friends married a man and they have 4 girls...he jokes about this a lot too:)

    I completely empathize with the need to take it easy some days though...our bodies tell us when we have hit that wall. I am lucky in that my dog helps push me for getting that walk in each day...looking at me with those cute eyes! haha..

    I wish that I could travel more as I miss it....but when pain levels are high...it definitely makes it harder and more daunting.

    Did you and your family go on a summer vacation somewhere fun? It's so nice to go someplace new to explore and get your mind off the everyday stuff of bills, traffic, and even our pain.

    Again...thanks for sharing our journey with us and I am glad that you took my posts as intended of just trying to help:)

    Hope you can enjoy some of this holiday weekend!
  • Pepper28PPepper28 Posts: 10
    edited 11/01/2013 - 5:50 PM
    My dog does the same thing. Lol...I truly believe that he has kept me going through these difficult years of chronic pain. It would be so easy to just sit on the couch all evening, but I know I cannot really relax in the evening until he has had his walk. No matter how bad I feel I know he is going to be in my face until he has had his walk. And the part about the endorphins is so true. Almost every night I feel better once I start walking and afterwards too.
    I ruptured a disk 5+ years ago and Was diagnosed with scoliosis and have been left with chronic pain. I use Butrans patches. I started out with the 10mcg and felt really good, but I had gastrointestinal side effects and went down to the 5mcg. The 10 mcg also made me very sleepy. The side effects are tolerable now but I am not as pain free.
    The sight of the patch burns after I take it off. I took Zyrtec for that but they only made my stomach symptoms worse.
    We just have to decide what we can live with and what we can't.
    I discuss all this with my doctor of course. She has helped a lot to manage the chronic pain.
  • I have just switched from 15mg MSContin, 3x/d with 10mg Norco, 2x/day to Butrans patch. After tapering my MSContin to 2/day and switching my Norco to 5mg, I started on the 5mcg/hr patch. I had no side effects, but I was having a lot of pain. I was up most of the night and couldn't sleep because of the pain. I know most of you know that the pain always seems worse at night. After I called my PM, he switched me to 10mcg/hr. I am still in a lot of pain, the 2 5mg Norcos I have for breakthrough pain don't seem to help much because I am always in pain. The Dr wants me to continue the 10mcg/hr patch until I see him in two weeks.

    I can't get him to understand that I have a family to care for. When I am in pain, I can't keep the house clean or work in my yard. My beautiful flower garden is full of weeds. I am just heartbroken to see my home and garden deteriorating. How do I get him to understand?
    I have Ankolysing Spondylits, Ulcerative Colitis, DDD and a bit of OA to make things fun. Most of my problems are due to inflation of many joints, tendons and ligaments. I see a GP, a Rheumatologest, an orthopedic Dr and a wonderful PM.
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